Many people don't realise that there is actually a village called Corfe Castle as well as the castle itself, and we think this is a real shame. Most people heading here will mostly be interested in seeing the castle, but the village itself has plenty of character and is utterly charming, plus there are plenty of other things to see and do. We wanted to publish a guide about this village for 2023 for anyone looking to visit. Let's get into it:
Where is Corfe Castle?
Corfe Castle is based in the Purbeck district of Dorset, in the southwest of England. The village is situated on the Isle of Purbeck, a peninsula that juts out into the English Channel and is bordered by the towns of Wareham, Swanage, and Poole. You're only a few hours away from London by car or train.
What is there to do during your time in Corfe Castle?
Corfe Castle is a small village, but you'll still find quite a bit to see and do during your visit, here are some of the highlights:
Visit the castle
It's the elephant in the room, and there is plenty more to explore during your time in the village, but visiting Corfe Castle is a must. Although now in ruins after being destroyed by Cromwell, there is no denying that seeing the castle perched above the village is still a spectacular sight. It was established by William the Conqueror and stood strong until the English Civil War. The castle is now expertly managed by the National Trust, who have carried out extensive restoration work to ensure that the structure is both stable and safe to explore. The history of the castle is expertly outlined via a number of information panels, but we think the best way to get a feel for what the castle would have been like is to simply wander around it. Learn more here - nationaltrust.org.uk
See the model village
This model village of Corfe Castle in 1/20th scale is really impressive and gives you an idea of what the castle would have looked like before it was destroyed in the 17th century. It's very small, but the detail is impressive and it's fascinating to imagine how imposing the castle would look if it wasn't ruinous. As well as the village, there are also some games including a giant Jenga game and outdoor chess. The cafe here is a great place to grab a slice of homemade cake and a nice coffee too. Learn more here - corfecastlemodelvillage.co.uk
Visit St. Edwards's church
On the opposite side of the square from the castle, you'll spot this very impressive church, which was built in memory of King Edward. The original church which stood here was built in the 13th century, but due to deterioration almost all of the castle was rebuilt in the 19th century, apart from the tower. This is why most of the church has a Gothic style, whereas the tower looks much more traditional. It's a really pretty church both inside and out, and architecture geeks will love looking at the blend of styles. Learn more here - stedwardscorfecastle.co.uk
Take the Swanage Railway
The Swanage Railway is one of the most popular heritage railways in Britain, and Corfe Castle is an excellent place to take the train from. Corfe Castle station itself provides great views of the Castle, and the old-fashioned 50s style of the station is very fun and photogenic. It only takes about 20 minutes to get to Swanage, and we think it's a must-do activity during your time in the town, even if you're not a huge fan of trains. Learn more here - swanagerailway.co.uk
Corfe Castle Town Trust Museum
This small museum is fascinating to visit, mainly because of how much it manages to cram into such a small space. The museum is actually based on the ground floor of Corfe Castle Town Hall, which is reportedly the smallest town hall in England. This should give you an idea of how small it is! If you're looking to learn more about the history of the village and the castle, as well as information about the stone age and dinosaurs, a trip to Corfe Castle Town Trust Museum is definitely recommended. The staff here are always friendly too. Learn more here - corfecastletowntrust.co.uk
Things to be aware of before visiting Corfe Castle
Corfe Castle might be a small village, but you can probably see that there is quite a bit to see and do, so we'd definitely recommend staying at least 2 days here. If you're a fan of walking, you can follow routes like The Purbeck Way, so bring your walking boots if that sounds like your thing.
How to get to Corfe Castle?
If you're travelling from the capital, there is a direct train service from London Waterloo to Wareham. Once you're in Wareham, there are several bus connections to Corfe Castle. The train also connects at Clapham Junction, Woking, Basingstoke, Winchester, Southampton and Brokenhurst. Alternatively, you could hire a bike in Wareham and cycle, it's only 5 miles or so.